Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National Poetry Month

April, I note at its near end, was/is National Poetry Month. I've been getting a poem a day in my e-mail, and so far, this has been the best one:

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

If more poems were like that, we'd likely have fewer people having allergic reactions at the prospect of poetry. My stance toward poetry is a lot like my perspective on any genre literature, like sci fi or fantasy--there's a lot of crap out there, but the good stuff is very fulfilling and makes up for the lesser quality dreck. It also, ideally, shows a slightly different way of thinking of the world and at its best, illustrates the many-faceted thing that is human nature.

Now playing: Strung Out - Vampires
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bookmark *this*

So I have a couple potentially dangerous pastimes*: haunting thrift stores and crocheting. The two go surprisingly well together; namely, the former is a cheap way of gathering supplies for the latter.

One trip was quite successful: a bag of colorful cotton threads. Didn't quite have a plan for them, but hey, that'd come later. A bargain is a bargain. It turns out I had just the right pattern on hand to use the thread. I'll definitely be experimenting with more color combinations.

Here's what I have thus far:

Numero uno

Numero dos
I'm thinking the next will be a tri-color one--inside to outside, pink, orange, and yellow. So many possibilities. Hmm...

* - Hey, dangerous is a completely subjective term, OK?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keeping busy

With a family member in the hospital this weekend, I've had a lot of time on my hands. Some of that time was spent grading papers, some was spent reading (including--within the span of a day--starting and finishing a book I'd been intending to read), and some was spent crocheting.

I made a couple of bookmarks from crochetroo's Fan Bookmark pattern, which was easy to master and had beautiful results with my rainbow thread, which practically patterned itself:

I'm definitely going to try this one in other colors, too. I made one for myself, and a second just to keep busy. Now I need to find someone to foist a bookmark upon :).

Now playing: Chuck Ragan - Geraldine
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A question for the blogosphere

Any clue what this tree is? I've seen it in a couple local parks, but I haven't been able to track down what it is by more conventional (a.k.a. Google) means... So I turn to the collective wisdom of the blogosphere. Any clues?

Now playing: Death Cab for Cutie - Stable Song
via FoxyTunes

Monday, April 13, 2009

Morning routine

I had my oatmeal ready to go, with its flaxseed and raisins and brown sugar stirred in. I had my coffee mug filled, with my El Slavador blend of coffee, black, just the way I like it. Everything was in its place as I sat down to the table.

Or was it? Something was missing, a niggling sense that the routine wasn't quite complete.

And then the cat emerged from wherever she'd been hiding to begin her morning routine, weaving around my chair legs, purring and chirping, butting her head against my outstretched hand. When I neglected my humanly duties, she put one front paw up on the arm of the chair, the other batting at my arm, a message that said, with a clear accompanying chirp, "Here I am. Why are you not worshiping? Hel-looo!"

Much better. My morning breakfast routine was complete.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ladybug, ladybug...

It was a gorgeous afternoon, and I couldn't bear the thought of just staying indoors when I got off work. Off to the park I went, then, camera in one hand, trash bag in the other.

Here's one of the things I captured with the former:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

She shoots; she scores!

This time last semester, when I was teaching at Alma Mater U, I had to cancel one day of classes for department-wide assessment scoring. I was, shall we say, less than enthused about it because part of it involved also giving up Saturday to assess remedial-level writing. Total buzz kill, y'know?

In one class, my students were wondering why exactly they had the day off. So, in a voice meant to drum up false enthusiasm as much for myself as them, I blurted out a little too loudly and a little too enthusiastically, "Remember those essays you wrote a couple classes ago? A bunch of us instructors are gonna get together and score!" By the time I could hastily add "essays," the class was dissolved in giggles, and my composure was gone as well. (It didn't help that that was the day we were talking about dangling modifiers...)

This semester, even though I am not teaching there, my former boss called and asked if I'd be interested in the scoring. After a bit of hesitation, I decided on it. That was today, and it was actually not as painful as the first time. I got paid, got a free lunch, and got to catch up with Awesome Grad School Cohort in the process.

It was, indeed, quite... satisfying.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


If I were to wait to blog until I have something worth saying, I might as well pack up this blog and call it quits.

So here's a picture of a tree.

Its bark is certainly worse than its... you know.

Now playing: Austin Lucas - Bruiser
via FoxyTunes